The Steinbach Pistons were able to recently connect with alumni Tyler Penner who is back home for the summer after completing his freshman year at Colgate University. The product of Winnipeg played hockey for the schools Division One program where he tallied 3 points in 31 games.
During his Pistons Career, Penner was a dominant force on the ice, as he was offensively gifted but played a very strong defensive game as well.
Penner’s time with the Pistons began when the team called him up for one game in the 2012-13 regular season. After finishing the season with the Winnipeg Thrashers in Midget AAA, Penner joined the Pistons for the team’s first berth in the MJHL playoffs since it’s relocation to Steinbach. Although only having one game of junior experience under his belt, Penner was one of the most consistent players during the playoffs and eventually helped the under-dog Pistons win their first MJHL Championship that year. Penner went on to compete with the Pistons in the Inaugural Western Canada Cup in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
In the following three years with the Pistons, Penner emerged as one of the top forwards in the league. He helped the Pistons to very strong Regular Season and Playoff showings. As a result of his consistent play and strong character, Penner was awarded the Pistons captaincy in the 2015-16 season. Penner was also dedicated to furthering his education, as he took courses at the University of Manitoba during his time with the Pistons. Penner was rewarded for his efforts on and off the ice when he committed to Colgate University, a Patriot League Division One program.
Penner finished his junior career among the top of many all-time Pistons offensive categories. Penner ranked 9th in games played with 168, 3rd in goals with 79, 5th in assists with 77 and 4th in points with 156. In 51 total playoff games, Penner contributed 11 goals and 23 points. Penner was awarded many league accomplishments during his Pistons career including an MJHL Championship, Player of the Month award for November in the 2014-15 season and Second All-Star Team nominations in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
The following is Tyler Penner’s Q and A
STP: What are you doing in life these days?
Penner: I am currently playing hockey at Colgate University and I just finished my freshman year. I am still trying to figure out exactly what I want to major in so at the moment I’ve taken an array of different courses.
STP: What are your plans for the future?
Penner: I would love to play hockey as long as I can. I am looking forward to three more years at University but once my career with Colgate has come to an end, I would love to continue my hockey career, whether that is in North America or overseas. As for the academic side, I am still in the process of deciding what major to pursue. I am in between Economics and Psychology at the moment however that could still change as I explore my options.
STP: Do you still follow the team during the season?
Penner: Yes, I definitely follow the team throughout the year. It is always nice to check the scores and see how the guys have been doing. I still have a bunch of close friends that are on the team so it is nice to see how they and the team are doing. I also keep in contact with Paul as well just to touch base on how things are going.
STP: Do you still connect with any of your former pistons teammates?
Penner: I try to keep in touch with as many of my teammates as I can. Whether it’s a simple text or a facetime, it’s always nice to hear from them. And even if I haven’t talked to one of them in a while, when you meet up, you start back up at the same place you left off and it’s as if there was no time apart.
STP: Who was your favorite Pistons player and why?
Penner: This is a tough question to answer seeing as each teammate was different and they all had different impacts on me. However if I had to pick one, it would be Dan Taillefer. He was my teammate the whole time that I was in Steinbach and we became great friends. He was a tremendous hockey player and my line mate for my last two years in Steinbach and I believe his play helped me get to where I am today. Also when you have the nickname “Mr. All-time” it definitely helps.
STP: What are your most memorable on ice moments with the Pistons?
Penner: The most memorable moment on the ice with the Pistons has to be when I was able to play in the playoffs when I was 17 and win the MJHL championship. That is something I will never forget. Another great moment for me was in my final season when all the graduating players were honored at center ice. It was weird to think that it would be the last time I’d play with all of them but it also reinforced how great of players they were and how I was lucky to experience it all.
STP: What are your most memorable off-ice moments with the Pistons?
Penner: There are so many that it is hard to keep track of. Could start with the long road trips up to OCN where you really get to know each other while you’re stuck on a bus for 8 hours. Getting to know my billet family, the Lazaruks, and spending time with them was very special as well. The things I won’t forget though are just the nights where all the guys got together and we just messed around. Whether it was playing baseball, going for a swim or watching the bachelor with 23 other guys, they are memories I’ll have forever.
STP: What advice would you give to future players wanting to play in Steinbach?
Penner: Playing in Steinbach was one of the best things that has happened to me. Take advantage of your time there and make memories. Be prepared to work hard and have the expectation to continue having the success the organization has had in the past.
STP: How did your time with the Pistons get you to where you are today?
Penner: Without playing for Steinbach I don’t know where I’d be in my hockey career. It prepared me and gave me the exposure necessary to allow me to continue my hockey career. Steinbach also helped to shape me into the person that I am today through my teammates, coaches, billets, and the fans around town.
Stayed tuned for the next Pistons Alumni Update featuring Kyle Rous